Bikers pay tribute to fallen Appomattox motorcyclist

Motorcyclists lead the funeral procession of the late 22-year-old Christian Nathaniel Evans today in Appomattox as they leave Robinson Funeral Home on Court Street.

~Young motorcyclist perished in Campbell County crash~

His mother says he was a “free spirit.” His father describes him as “generous.” His siblings referred to him as “Bubba,” and in the case of his two-year-old sister, “Bub.” A fellow biker said he was a “good guy.”

Appomattox resident Christian Nathaniel Evans passed away at age 22 around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, as the result of a single-vehicle motorcycle accident on Doss Road in the Concord area of Campbell County.

Family and friends, including an estimated 100 or more motorcyclists, gathered Monday at Robinson Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Appomattox to pay tribute to Evans. Following the funeral service, the bikers led the procession from Robinson Funeral Home on Court Street to Liberty Cemetery on Lee-Grant Avenue at around 3 p.m., where Evans was laid to rest.

Frankie Webber, a member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association who resides in Appomattox and knows Christian and his family, was one of the bikers who attended Monday’s funeral. Webber had lost touch with Christian over the last few years but spoke highly of his fallen fellow biker.

“Christian was a good guy,” Webber said. “At one time he used to be with us in the Christian Motorcycle Association, and his grandparents used to be a member of our group. Christian used to come with his grandparents all the time to the meetings, so he really wanted to be around motorcycles.”

Gathering around other bikers and families of bikers in times of need is a common trait in the motorcycling community, and Webber is glad to have the opportunity to serve Evans’ family.

“Bikers are real anxious to get out and help the community and show support if they’re asked to,” Webber said. “It means a lot. I know the family real good and I knew Christian real good, and whatever it takes to help them out I’m glad to do.”

Various motorcycle groups and individual bikers took part in Monday’s funeral procession, some from the local area and others as far away as Roanoke and the Tidewater Region. The effort was spearheaded by Evans’ mother Brandy.

“I spoke to a biker today that doesn’t know me, that doesn’t know my son, and she said, to paraphrase, that there is an honor and love amongst the bikers that are family, whether you know them or not, and they are honored to ride in my son’s memory…It’s wonderful to see how many are out. I just greatly appreciate them doing this for us,” Brandy said.

Inspired by family friend Chris Knight, as well as his grandparents Larry and Sue Lawhorne, Christian developed a love of motorcycles that became his life’s passion. He had purchased a 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan in January, and wanted to take it with him everywhere.

“Chris rides, and Christian’s such a free spirit that he wanted to ride with Chris… He never actually had the opportunity to ride with any of them because he only had the bike a short while. He enjoyed the freedom,” Brandy said.

“He loved his bike, it was definitely his pride and joy,” said Christian’s father, Alvin “A.R.” Evans. “It was the first vehicle he bought strictly on his own. It didn’t matter what temperature it was, he was still out riding it. We had a family trip (recently) to Charlotte, North Carolina, and he drove it, and it was probably 40 degrees outside and he was going down I-85 with it, and I know he was freezing. So we stopped at the truck stop and got him some extra gloves and stuff. But he was not gonna go unless he could drive his bike down there; he refused to ride with us in the car. That just tells you how much that meant to him — he just loved it, that was his life.”

A.R. believes his son’s primary legacy will be the goodness of his character — his generosity and caring spirit.

“He had a great heart,” A.R. said. “He may have made mistakes but who hasn’t? He was young; he was a kid, he was 22. I hope people will remember his generosity; he always wanted to take care of people. He was very compassionate. He may have had a tough exterior but he had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody and was always looking out for people. He wanted to feel like he was the big brother to everybody.”

And a good big brother he was to his younger brothers Terry and Jacob, and toddler sister Clara.

“All of the children called him ‘Bubba,” A.R. said. “That’s what he wanted them to know him by, and Clara loved her ‘Bub.’ She couldn’t pronounce ‘Bubba,’ so that was her ‘Bub.’ It’s terrible because we know that Clara’s gonna have to grow up with pictures. But she’ll always know that he was there and was a big part of her life. She definitely loved him.”

Although Clara is too young to comprehend what happened to her big brother at this point, A.R. said she is cognizant of the fact that her family has been feeling “sad” and has comforted them by giving hugs. However, A.R. hopes that someday she will have memories of moments with Christian, such as sitting on his lap.

Along with Clara’s tenderness, the widespread support the Evans family has received from people in the local community, and the biker community as well, has given them strength to endure the early stage of the grieving process.

“We’ve kept our head above water just by knowing that he was doing so much for others and so many people loved him, and that gave us peace,” Brandy said.

“It’s very humbling and honoring,” A.R. said. “I had no idea that the motorcycle community as a whole was as much of a brotherhood and sisterhood as it is. It’s truly honoring and we can’t thank everybody enough for the outpouring of support from the different groups. It’s really touching. It’s helped a lot for us to know that they want to help honor him.”

Christian’s motorcycle accident did not involve another vehicle, but A.R. wishes to emphasize roadway safety for motorcycle riders and other vehicles in remembrance of Christian.

“What we want to try to do is stress safety, not only for motorcycle riders,” he said. “People who drive passenger cars, know that these that these motorcycles are out there. Be safe around them; be aware — they have every right to be on the road as well as (passenger vehicles) do. So, just look out for them, be aware that they’re there; share the road. If you ride (a motorcycle) let people know where you’re at and ride with a group if you can. If we can stop one family from going through what we have, it’ll be worth all the work we’ve put in.”

To assist the Evans family with funeral expenses, visit the GoFundMe page set up in Christian’s memory at www.gofundme. com/f/r5kbv-the-evans-family or the Robinson Funeral Home payment center at www.robinsonfuneral.com and click on the “Click For Our Payment Center” link.